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Nepal and bhutan

Nepal & Bhutan — a successful fall season!

Ama Dablam in all its glo­ry. Seth Hob­by photo

An excit­ing sea­son in Nepal! We’ve had some great climbs and treks take place in the Himalayas this year. We brought clients to Ama Dablam, Island Peak, Mera Peak, Ever­est Base Camp, and Bhutan. Many of you also fol­lowed Mark Gun­log­son’s adven­ture on Mera Peak, an excit­ing new climb we will now be offer­ing climbers look­ing for new des­ti­na­tions in the Himalayas! Here is a recap of the sea­son. We hope you can join us in 2011.


A group of six joined Moun­tain Mad­ness and guide Deana Zabal­do in Bhutan this Octo­ber for an adven­tur­ous 16 day trek through the King­dom. Our group did their best to con­tribute to the Gross Domes­tic Hap­piniess” as they vis­it­ed monas­ter­ies, vis­it­ed locals, and enjoyed the spec­tac­u­lar moun­tain scenery. Trekkers also vis­it­ed a mask fes­ti­val — check out this video!

Tiger’s Nest. Deana Zabal­do photo

Mask Fes­ti­val. Deana Zabal­do photo

Ever­est Base Camp:

A client favorite, our Ever­est Base Camp Trek took sev­en clients through this beau­ti­ful Himalayan region. The weath­er was beau­ti­ful through the major­i­ty of the trip until a fog rolled in from Phortse near the end and delayed the group for three days. The dynam­ic, engaged group of trekkers had a great time explor­ing the Himalayas. Two clients broke off from the group part way through to take a shot at Island Peak and Ama Dablam.

Bless­ing in Kath­man­du before the trek. Deana Zabal­do photo

Jump­ing for joy at base camp! Deana Zabal­do photo

Deana was very orga­nized, patient, and extreme­ly knowl­edge­able about all facets of Nepal. It was per­fect because she of course spoke excel­lent Eng­lish and under­stood where we were com­ing from; yet spoke Nepali and had a bond with the Nepalese peo­ple. She arranged sev­er­al extra encoun­ters we would­n’t have had oth­er­wise i.e. vis­its with Bud­dhist monks, the nuns, gam­bling on Tihar, vis­it at teatime with our Sher­pas — all of which made this trip spe­cial.” ~ Nan­cy Anderson

Island Peak:

When trav­el­ing with Moun­tain Mad­ness, why stop at one moun­tain?! Joaquim Oliveira joined us this sea­son for a whirl­wind tour of Kil­i­man­jaro, Ever­est Base Camp and Island Peak. His suc­cess­ful sum­mit of Kil­i­man­jaro boost­ed his con­fi­dence as he then trav­eled to Nepal to join the Ever­est Base Camp trekkers men­tioned above. To top off his adven­tures, he suc­cess­ful­ly sum­mit­ed Island Peak, at 20,305 feet!

Final sum­mit ridge on Island Peak. Mark Ryman photo

After being in Kil­i­man­jaro, Ever­est Base Camp and Island Peak with MM, I just would like to reg­is­ter how impressed I was by MM’s ser­vices at all lev­els, from the office admin­is­tra­tion assis­tance to Tul­si’s epx­e­ri­ence at the top of Island Peak. I tru­ly hope to have anoth­er trip with MM.” ~ Joaquim Oliveira

Ama Dablam:

Descend­ing Ama Dablam in good con­di­tions. Seth Hob­by photo

After some train­ing climbs in the North Cas­cades and in the Alps with Moun­tain Mad­ness, climber Ray Grif­fith was ready for what many con­sid­er the most beau­ti­ful moun­tain in the world. The steep south­east flank of Ama Dablam made a last­ing impres­sion on Ray this sea­son once he broke off from the Ever­est Base Camp group. With Pem­ba Sher­pa’s guid­ance and sup­port­ive coach­ing, he and Ray pushed up the moun­tain side quick­ly, to stay one step ahead of the weath­er sys­tem mov­ing in. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the weath­er caught up with them and by 6:30 am on sum­mit day, vis­i­bil­i­ty was poor and the strong wind and heavy snow pre­sent­ed some dif­fi­cult conditions.

30 meters from the sum­mit, with huge gusts of wind and snow blow­ing off the sum­mit into their faces, Pem­ba and Ray decid­ed to turn back. As far as I’m con­cerned, 30 meters is close enough to the top to call it a suc­cess­ful climb!” Ray wrote to us lat­er. We com­plete­ly agree with him! The quick acclima­ti­za­tion and progress under nasty weath­er con­di­tions was quite an accomplishment.

The climb was fan­tas­tic! The rock and moun­tain were great and lived up to my expec­ta­tions. The sum­mit push was steep­er than I had read about or antic­i­pat­ed. It was a lit­tle over­whelm­ing at first, but Pem­ba got me over that with his pro­fes­sion­al­ism and coach­ing. He was great!” ~ Ray Griffith

Mera Peak:

On the sum­mit of Mera framed by Ever­est on left and Makalu on the right. Mark Gun­log­son photo

Sum­mit day. Mark Gun­log­son photo

For those of you who did­n’t get a chance to fol­low Mark Gun­log­son’s expe­di­tion to Mera Peak, here is a quick recap. Mark and four clients were delayed for their flight in to Luk­la due to weath­er, but final­ly were able to pull some strings and char­ter a heli­copter to take them to Luk­la. As the team and porter staff made their way up the moun­tain, they forged great friend­ships and had some mem­o­rable laughs with lead Sher­pa, Lap­kha. All six climbers made it suc­cess­ful­ly to the 21,247 ft peak! This trip will be on the sched­ule for fall 2011- call for details.

MM did a great job of tak­ing care of all the logis­tics while we were on the trip. It makes the trip much more enjoy­able when you have such a com­pe­tent staff work­ing with you to make sure your trip is every­thing you want it to be. Every­one from the office staff to the MM guide to the sup­port team on the trail were all pri­mar­i­ly con­cerned about the safe­ty and enjoy­ment of all the clients. It was a great expe­ri­ence to use MM for our trip. Thanks!”

~ Mark Sargent

Stay tuned for the 2011 Sea­son in Nepal. We have great trips lined up to bring you a mem­o­rable expe­ri­ence in the Himalayas. For those of you who have already joined us for the Ever­est Base Camp Trek or oth­er climbs in Nepal, check out our new trips for 2011!